Hamilton traffic pattern at N. Third and Black streets to change this fall

Hamilton will add in dedicated left-turn lanes on North 3rd Street at Black Street in order to improve safety with the anticipated increase in traffic due to the anticipated Spooky Nook complex opening this fall. The work is expected to be completed by September. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Hamilton will add in dedicated left-turn lanes on North 3rd Street at Black Street in order to improve safety with the anticipated increase in traffic due to the anticipated Spooky Nook complex opening this fall. The work is expected to be completed by September. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

In an effort to improve traffic around the city, Hamilton will change the traffic pattern at North Third and Black streets.

“It’ is imperative to improve mobility and increase safety at this intersection with the expected increase in traffic,” said Rich Engle, Hamilton’s director of Engineering.

This will include dedicated left-turn lanes for northbound and southbound traffic on North Third Street (U.S. 127) at Black Street. Work is expected to be completed by September, Engle said.

The traffic pattern changes ― signs and directions will be posted when the changes occur ― Engle said, “Due to expected increased traffic flow, this will improve the safety of motorists and allow better traffic flow.”

Overhead signage will also be installed.

Northbound traffic will have a dedicated left-turn onto Black Street, and the right lane will allow traffic to flow through the intersection or make a right-hand turn into the North Third Street parking lot.

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Southbound traffic will have a dedicated left-turn lane to access the North Third parking lot while the middle lane will be for through traffic only. A right lane will be added for southbound traffic to turn right onto Black Street.

This is one of a few projects to help traffic move through Hamilton, especially the congestion expected when Spooky Nook plans to be nearly fully open this fall.

Owner Sam Beiler said he’s confident Spooky Nook at Champion Mill, a 1.2 million-square-foot redevelopment of the former Champion paper mill on either side of North B Street, will be operational this fall. The multi-sport complex will be on the west side of the street, and the convention center and hotel will be on the east side.

Officials project there upwards of 1 million visitors, if not more, will be at the complex during the first year of Spooky Nook’s operation.

Another traffic control project is Hamilton’s central-based traffic signal system upgrade, which should be complete by the end of the month. This will improve 27 priority intersections, and all of Hamilton’s 97 traffic signals will have smart technology “that will monitor traffic and adjust accordingly within the parameters that we set,” Engle said.

Engle said that generated data associated with the signals’ operation will be compiled for staff to evaluate traffic patterns and adjust the signals as necessary.

Also, the city recently bid to install a digital message board on High Street, which Engle said will be tied into the city’s traffic system. This permanent message board will be posted as traffic heads westbound on High Street into downtown, right before the Jack Kirsch Underpass.

Engle said this would primarily provide information to visitors to the Spooky Nook complex, regularly advising if they should head straight and turn right onto North B Street or turn north onto Martin Luther King Boulevard.

This will also be used for other city events, such as Operation Pumpkin, as Engle said “it will be completely programmable.” The installation, however, isn’t expected to occur until next year, as Engle said delivery on the board “is quite long.”

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